Letter to the full House Opposing Proposed Funding Cuts
January 24, 2011
On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association, we urge you to VOTE NO on HJ Res 38, scheduled for a floor vote this week. This deeply troubling resolution would slash federal funding to FY08 levels, with potentially devastating consequences for education. Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 112th Congress.
While the specifics of which programs would be cut under HJ Res 38 have yet to be determined, if the proposed overall cut was applied to the Education Department, it would reduce funding by $9.42 billion from the current level. This would have a very detrimental impact on students as well as on our economy and future competitiveness.
Particularly in these troubling economic times, investing in education makes both good fiscal sense and good public policy. Funding targeted to quality public schools will see the greatest return on taxpayer money and will strengthen the entire economy. In fact, research shows an inextricable link between investment in education and economic strength. In addition to widespread productivity increases, the higher earnings of educated workers generate higher tax payments at the local, state, and federal levels. Consistent productive employment reduces dependence on public income-transfer programs and all workers, regardless of education level, earn more when there are more college graduates in the labor force. (Education Pays, The College Board, 2007).
If the proposed cuts were applied equally to all education programs:
- Title I, which provides additional resources to assist educationally disadvantaged children in high-poverty schools, would be cut by $1.97 billion, reducing or eliminating services for 2.7 million high-risk children. According to First Focus, from 2008 to 2009, the number of America’s children that live in poverty grew by close to 2 million. In 2009, child poverty reached a level of 20.7 percent – a rate of more than one in five and totaling more than 15.5 million children. This makes Title I funding even more important, and cuts even more dangerous, as without these resources, far too many children will not have the supports they need to succeed.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state grants would be slashed by $1.56 billion, dropping the federal share of special education funding from 17 percent to less than 15 percent, far short of the federal commitment to cover 40 percent of the costs of educating students with disabilities. The cut in IDEA funding will shift to states and local districts the costs of educating 798,000 students with disabilities, therefore, increasing local tax burdens.
- Pell grants would be cut by $3.15 billion, making it more difficult for low- and middle-income families to pay for college. These cuts would eliminate or reduce aid for 847,000 students.
Moving backwards on education funding would be devastating for our students, our schools, and our nation. We strongly urge a NO vote on HJ Res 38.
Director of Government Relations
Manager of Federal Advocacy